New Zealand men pip Samoa in Oceania Sevens final

Akuila Rokolisoa of New Zealand gets past Motu Opetai of Samoa to score a try during the final of the 2023 Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship in Brisbane.
Photo: photosport

New Zealand warmed up for their men’s world sevens series title defence with victory at the season-opening Oceania Sevens tournament in Brisbane.

The All Blacks Sevens needed extra time to beat Samoa 24-19 in a tense final, with Akuila Rokolisoa breaking Samoan hearts with a runaway try five minutes into the time added on.

New Zealand celebrate winning the men's final of the 2023 Oceania Rugby Sevens championship.

New Zealand celebrate winning the men’s final of the 2023 Oceania Rugby Sevens championship.
Photo: photosport

Earlier, New Zealand beat Fiji 24-17 in the semi-finals while Samoa defeated Papua New Guinea 24-0, a result that qualified the Samoans for next year’s Paris Olympics.

Double Olympic champions Fiji, New Zealand and Australia had already qualified for the Olympics after securing top placings in last year’s world series, along with hosts France and Argentina.

New Zealand fielded a development team in the Oceania women’s competition and they bowed out in the semi-finals, beaten 14-10 by Australia, who went on to win the final, 26-0 over Fiji.

The Fijiana side booked their Olympic ticket when they beat Papua New Guinea 54-0 in the semi-finals.

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